Zidane gets hero's welcome in star-struck Algeria

11th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

ALGIERS, Dec 11, 2006 (AFP) - French football star Zinédine Zidane arrived in Algeria on Monday on his first visit in some 20 years to his parents' homeland, with the government laying on a hero's welcome for the former captain of Les Bleus.

ALGIERS, Dec 11, 2006 (AFP) - French football star Zinédine Zidane arrived in Algeria on Monday on his first visit in some 20 years to his parents' homeland, with the government laying on a hero's welcome for the former captain of Les Bleus.

Zidane is visiting the country at the invitation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika who has laid on a programme of events, including an appearance at an Algiers stadium on Thursday when he will kick-off a local match before a 60,000-strong crowd.

His arrival at the city's airport triggered a scrum as photographers jostled to capture the moment Zidane walked onto the tarmac accompanied by his parents, who come from the country's Kabylie region.

Photographers slipped through the security net to rush onto the tarmac as Zidane's plane, in a rare move, taxied to a stop in front of the airport's VIP lounge.

Some of the visiting dignitaries were nearly squashed in the stampede, and Labour and Solidarity Minister Djamal Ould Abbas was heard shouting out "Let him through, let him through."

Security services finally managed to hustle Zidane through the melee and into the lounge, not giving him time to make any comment, while the official welcoming ceremony was cancelled.

Zidane is due to inaugurate several charitable projects, notably in the Boumerdes region, which was hit by a huge earthquake in May 2003.

On Wednesday he is to spend the day with the Algerian president, before kicking-off Thursday's match.

On Friday he will visit Bejaia, east of the capital, the birthplace of his parents, which is to host a lunch in his honour.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

 

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